media update’s Aisling McCarthy offers a simple three-step strategy to buff up your SEO skills.

Why does SEO matter? Because consumers who don’t already know about you will be most likely to find you through a search engine. It is imperative for brands to ensure they put out SEO-friendly content if they want to grow their consumer base.

Here’s how to whip your content into (SEO) shape:

1. Good SEO needs a keyword to focus on

Start by thinking of a keyword that describes your product or service. It’s not as easy as it sounds. Your keyword can be a couple of words, but they need to be descriptive enough that someone seeing that keyword would be able to know exactly what it is you offer.

A good way to find your main keyword is to ask yourself: “What exactly do we offer people? How would they search for that product/service?”

So, you’ve narrowed your list down to a few keywords you think could work. But how do you pick your main one? A simple way to do this is to use Google Keyword Planner. This is free tool that shows you an estimated number of people who have searched for a specific keyword phrase. Although the tool is free to use, you’ll need to set up a Google AdWords account first.

When choosing your main keyword, remember that you want something that is searched fairly often. But keep in mind that the more people who search for that keyword, the more you’ll be competing with every other brand using that keyword. A lower searched keyword will mean less competitors, but it will also mean less potential consumers.

2. Research your SEO keyword competitors

You’ve found your keyword. Hooray! Now, consider who your competitors for this keyword are.

A good way to start is to do some recon on other brands using the keyword you have chosen.

media update top tip: Make sure to use “Incognito Mode” when searching, or else Google will use your past search history to influence the search results page.
Once in “Incognito Mode”, type in the keyword you want to use. Ignoring any ad results at the top of the page, have a look at all the brands that appear on the first page. Those 10 or so results are your competition.

Take some time to thoroughly check out their websites and blog posts. What are they missing? Can you do better?

3. Fill your content with your SEO keywords

Now you’ve got your keywords and you’ve got a pretty good idea of what you’re up against. Ready for the final step? It’s time to create the content that will blow your competitors out of the water. This is the most difficult, and the most important, part. Your content needs to be amazing.

Whether you’re creating a website, blog post or sales landing page, it needs to be better than all the rest, or else neither Google nor your audience will ever notice it.

Put your main keyword in your page title

It sounds obvious, but your page title needs to contain your keyword. Additionally, your title needs to be interesting enough to make people want to click on it.

Consider this: Would you have clicked on this article if it was called “SEO tips” instead of “3 Easy steps to ace SEO – every time”?

Put the keyword in your header

Most web pages include a large title at the top, and several subheadings throughout the page (like this article does). To keep your SEO scores high, try to include your keyword in your heading.

Not only does this help people when skimming blog posts, it also helps Google to know precisely what your content is about. For extra SEO points, try to use one exact keyword phrase in each of your subheadings, too.

Put your keyword in the names of your images

If you’ve included images in your content, you can use them to ensure Google knows what your content is about.

Changing the image name is easy enough: just rename the image on your computer before uploading it to your site. Instead of leaving the image names “3458264.jpg” you can rename it something like “SEO-tips.jpg”. That way, search engines will know exactly what the image is related to.

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Search Engine Optimisation is something your brand has to constantly work at to ensure success. Find out more about SEO in the South African market in our article, SEO is a long-term investment.